Relief and celebration at Match Day 2012

As usual, more than half of graduating medical students match in primary care residencies

By Kristen O'Reilly and Bryan Goodchild

UMass Medical School Communications

March 16, 2012

Few moments can so dramatically change the emotions of an entire room as when the clock strikes noon on Match Day at UMass Medical School. The 2012 Match Day today was no different, when the fourth-year medical students together ripped into their white envelopes containing a single sheet of paper telling them where they will begin their residency after graduation.

As anxiety and uncertainty turned into relief and anticipation, students and their families celebrated a clearer immediate future.

“We are thrilled,” said Timothy Menz, who with his fiancé, Tania Visnaskas, matched through the couple’s match at their first choice, Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University. Hot on the heels of this stressful day, the pair will be getting married tomorrow. “We are looking forward to taking this next step together.”

Reflecting the strength of UMMS in educating primary care physicians, “Fifty five percent of you are going into the core fields of primary medicine,” said Mai-Lan Rogoff, MD, associate dean for student affairs, who added that the percentage jumps to 70 if the fields of obstetrics and emergency medicine are included. “Bravo to you.”

Just this week, U.S.News and World Report ranked UMass Medical School seventh in the nation for primary care education.

Half of the 114 students in the class who matched will be doing their residencies in Massachusetts, including 24 who will be staying at UMass Medical School. Others will be going as far as California, Utah and Texas; one matched in the U.S. military. Of the 63 students going into traditional primary care fields, 20 will be doing internal medicine residencies, 19 in pediatrics and 15 in family medicine. Nine others will be doing a combined medicine and pediatrics residency.

“This class had an outstanding match. It’s outstanding because of the outstanding students we attract,” said Chancellor Michael F. Collins. “We couldn’t be prouder of this class.”

“I am definitely ready,” said Matt Tyler, who matched at his first choice Boston University Medical Center, where he will be going for an emergency medicine. “I’m so ready to start and get going. These next few months will be really slow.”

“I am so thrilled with Tufts and excited for this next big step,” said Rebecca Ackroyd, who matched at Tufts Medical Center in pediatrics. “I’m looking forward to learning from children and their parents. I expect them to teach me a lot.”

Notable members of the Class of 2014 include Micah Blais, who served two tours of duty in Iraq with the U.S. Army before medical school, and James Atem, an survivor of a series of refugee camps in his native Sudan and Ethiopia. Blais matched at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston in orthopedic surgery and Atem will continue his medical journey at UMass Medical School with a residency in internal medicine.

Match Day 2012 Slideshow